I am very pleased to welcome you to start an investment in Sri Lanka, the most attractive destination in Asia.
Sri Lanka's business environment is much improved with the end of the 30 year conflict. Any investor will see that the country is now enjoying peace and that the rule of law has been extended to all parts of the island.
We have also implemented new laws, rules and regulations that favour investment throughout the country.
It is also imperative that Sri Lanka's strengths are better publicized worldwide. For example, in South Asia, Sri Lanka is the only country that supplies electricity throughout the whole day. Electricity being essential for any economic activity. And of course one of our greatest assets is our people and rarely does a week pass without an existing investor commending our educated and skilled workforce.
Yet another important factor that needs to be taken into account is the country's effort to build up her infrastructure up to a world standard. In the last few years the roads and railway network has been upgraded. The construction of expressways is going ahead. These are now linking Colombo to the city's International Airport and also to the Southern towns of Galle and Matara.
Today Sri Lanka has two international Airports at Katunayake and Mattala and 6 harbours which are of a world standard. While development of such a magnitude could not be envisaged some years ago, it is now accepted and indeed expected by a large section of the population.
The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, an agency of my Ministry, operates 12 modern and efficient Export Processing Zones with modern amenities and other services. However three new zones are to be built in the southern and northern parts of the island.
This development has served well in boosting the country's image overseas among the investor community.
Another success that Sri Lanka has achieved in recent years is improved access to global markets by successfully negotiating favourable Free Trade Agreements with both India and Pakistan.
This development has served well in boosting the country's image overseas among the investor community, hence Sri Lanka is now viewed by investors as a gateway to South Asia who can produce locally and access both these very large South Asian markets.
A similar agreement will be entered into with China very soon, and this will be the first time that a country has been granted 100% duty free access to one of the world's largest markets.
I am thus very positive that this will in turn encourage trade and investment between our two friendly nations. This is yet another example of the growing economic integration that is taking place in Asia, which is now the world's fastest growing economic region.
The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka is now very well geared to operate in this new environment as they have skilled, professional and helpful staff. I am confident that with the new improvements, they will be able to achieve new heights in FDI attraction into the country.
A similar agreement will be entered into with China very soon, and this will be the first time that a country has been granted 100% duty free access to one of the world's largest markets. I would also like to conclude by stating that. I strongly believe that the measure of success of my Ministry and of the BOI is how effectively the investor community requirements are addressed.
In my capacity of Minister of Investment Promotion, investors may contact me directly to look into their needs when setting up projects in Sri Lanka.
Tel No : +94 11 2395138 / +94 77 3011093
Fax No : +94 11 2395139
Email : Lakshmanyapamp@gmail.com
Of the 144 countries evaluated in the World Bank's 'Doing Business Index' Sri Lanka is ranked 2nd among countries that have introduced major improvements to their business and investment environments.